Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Culture of Fantasy

The Media’s Influence on a Decaying Society
(With Great Appreciation to Malcolm Muggeridge)

Can anyone doubt the influence of the media on the masses? Though it seems to be a “no brainer”, the Civil Libertarians and Media Moguls always are quick to side with celebrities and loudly proclaim that art imitates, not shapes the world we live in.
I am so tired of the bogus, politically correct wimpishness that infects us. We have had our sense of reality so numbed by the constant flicker of fantasy, that we have educated all common sense, moral sense, and passion completely out of modern life.
Is television, the kingpin of mass brainwashing, neutral in this destruction of American character? Absolutely not! Television is possibly the cruelest weapon ever forged against the world by Satan.

A demon approached his aged master. “My Lord,” he sneered, “I want to serve you more fully. What do you desire?”
The cruel creature sucked in a grotesque mixture of slime and smoke. His eyes cowered the demon, whose legs showed a slight tremble.
“I want to take away literacy, pathetic one. The sword is more powerful than I ever imagined it to be. We must keep the children from using the sword..”
That pathetic demon tried stamping it out….it only grew
He martyred the writers and copiers…. the sword flourished
He confounded the translations, set up governments to block it….nothing succeeded.
……until, the advent of the technology for television. Flickering at a pace to mesmerize the mind. Fantastic images so far removed from reality, that it was a permanent holiday…
in less than 50 years, reading ability plummeted. Brains were rewired before the children even knew what hit them.
Bible production continued to rise……but the sword dwindled in the land.

Be not afeard, the isle (TV) is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That if I then had wak'd after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again, and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I wak'd
I cried to dream again.
(The Tempest, Shakespeare - III.ii.135-143)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Jesus Encounters II

Jesus Encounters the Woman at the Well
John 4: 1-42
- Geography of Christ’s journey
- History of Jacob’s well
- History of Samaritans
I The Contrasts of Last Week’s Lesson
The Time- The Participant- The Initiation-The Pronoun- The Tone

II The Comparisons of Last Week’s Lesson
Two Alone-The Technique- The Result

How do we get these accounts?
What does it mean in vs. 2- “had to pass”?
Do you see a significance of Jacobs well to be “Sychar” translated “Purchase”?
How does Jesus look at this woman?
What is tone and attitude of woman in vs. 19 and vs. 25?

III Points of Application
Creation as God’s metaphor- Light/Water/Bread/ Seasons etc.
Jesus: Fully God, Fully Man
Proofs that Jesus is God in this passage:
1) Intimacy with the Father
2) Insight into the woman
3) Incredible claim- I am he
4) Illustration of the well
5) Impression on Samaritans
We are all thirsty- God is the only source of satisfaction cf. Jeremiah 2:13
Spiritual over Physical/Material- she left her water pot/ He was not eating
Jesus- The Savior of the World- the only hope of unity
Gospel Presentation- What about you?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Jesus Encounters I

Applications of John 3:1-20

Difficulty in teaching from the gospels
John is well suited for “snapshot” approach- ICONS
Difficulty in the familiarity of text
Beneath the dialogue
Post-encounter experience

Nicodemus: A Teacher in Darkness

Religious leader- “expert” coming at night- opening title “Master”
#1- Nicodemus is unsettled
#2- Sincerity in seeking
#3-Calculating but Insecure- does not believe enough to risk
Blind to the information

Jesus: The Teacher of Light
A Master Teacher
Abruptness shows wisdom and supernatural knowledge- no questions
Uses Nicodemus’ own words and phrases
Common human experiences: birth, wind, OT story, light and darkness – metaphors – true but are types or images- Vs 12- “spoken of earthly things, heavenly things”

Common shared knowledge- Allusions
Son of Man- link to the Messiah
Moses and the Snake -Crucifixion- link to OT as a type and symbol
Gave His one and only son- Abraham and Isaac

Do you see the difference? We teach from what we know and see
You are teaching what you do not know and you can not see
And you reject us?

Jesus: The Glorious Message of Good News
You can see the Kingdom of God- but you must be changed
This is a work of God’s spirit- not of this world
You do not have this transformation- no knowledge and no testimony
This transformation or conversion involves belief/ trust
God is the giver of this gift- love is a motive
Whoever believes in God’s son has eternal life
There is condemnation in rejection of God’s plan
A couple of interesting - fun questions/ notes

1-Is this the whole conversation- was there an official intro? How did conversation end?
Do we come in after intros and small talk? Was he acting alone or was he representing the ruling council?

2-Tone of Jesus-
Biting question- “”You are Israel’s teacher and do not understand these things?”
What is the tone or expression? Wryness? Exasperation? Matter of fact? Compassionate?

3-What does it mean to believe?

4-Jesus’ use of third person- “this story is developing…watch and learn”
“My time has not yet come”
“Tell no one”

5-At the end analogy of light and darkness- think of the setting

Transformation of Nicodemus
John 7:50-
John 19:39-


Am I Nicodemus? Unsettled? No sin in asking that question
II Timothy 3:1-9- Run to Jesus -Simplicity of His message

Have I been born again?

Love God- He has shown love to us

Come into the light- identify yourself with the Savior- Stand with Him- Bring others into the light

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Richard Baxter on Parenting

A New Hero to me:

Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

Perhaps you have heard of Richard Baxter, the Puritan evangelist of Kidderminster in the English midlands. …There was an amazing transformation of that town under his ministry. Family catechizing, family worship, a public worship pattern full of praise, church discipline, preaching, devotional reading, regular pastoral counseling, and small-group ministry under Baxter's oversight, were all part of it, and reformation was Baxter's name for it. He wrote a classic book on ministerial practice entitled The Reformed Pastor. By the word reformed Baxter meant spiritually alive and morally in shape, not merely maintaining what we would call Calvinistic doctrines, though he assumes that. His meaning becomes clear when he writes: 'If God would but reform the clergy, the people of England would soon be reformed.' (J.I. Packer, Hot Tub Religion, Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1988. p. 218)



OF how great importance the wise and holy education of children is, to the saving of their souls, and the comfort of their parents, and the good of church and state, and the happiness of the world, I have partly told you before; but no man is able fully to express. And how great that calamity is, which the world is fallen into through the neglect of that duty, no heart can conceive; but they that think what a case the heathen, infidel, and ungodly nations are in, and how rare true piety is grown, and how many millions must lie in hell for ever, will know so much of this inhuman negligence, as to abhor it.

Direct. I. Understand and lament the corrupted and miserable state of your children, which they have derived from you, and thankfully accept the offers of a Saviour for yourselves and them, and absolutely resign, and dedicate them to God in Christ in the sacred covenant, and solemnize this dedication and covenant by their baptism

Direct. II. As soon as they are capable, teach them what a covenant they are in, and what are the benefits, and what the conditions, that their souls may gladly consent to it when they understand it; and you may bring them seriously to renew their covenant with God in their own persons

Direct. III. Train them up in exact obedience to yourselves, and break them of their own wills. To that end, suffer them not to carry themselves unreverently or contemptuously towards you; but to keep their distance. For too much familiarity breedeth contempt, and imboldeneth to disobedience. The common course of parents is to please their children so long, by letting them have what they crave, and what they will, till their wills are so used to be fulfilled, that they cannot endure to have them denied; and so can endure no government, because they endure no crossing of their wills.

Direct. IV. Make them neither too bold with you, nor too strange or fearful; and govern them not as servants, but as children, making them perceive that you dearly love them, and that all your commands, restraints, and corrections tire for their good, and not merely because you will have it so.

Direct. V. Labour much to possess their hearts with the fear of God, and a reverence of the holy Scriptures; and then whatsoever duty you command them, or whatsoever sin you forbid them, show them some plain and urgent texts of Scripture for it; and cause them to learn them and oft repeat them; that so they may find reason and divine authority in your commands; till their obedience begin to be rational and divine, it will be but formal and hypocritical. It is conscience that must watch them in private, when you see them not; and conscience is God's officer and not yours; and will say nothing to them, till it speak in the name of God.

Direct. VI. In all your speeches of God and of Jesus Christ, and of the holy Scripture, or the life to come, or of any holy duty, speak always with gravity, seriousness, and reverence, as of the most great and dreadful and most Sacred things: for before children come to have any distinct understanding of particulars, it is a hopeful beginning to have their hearts possessed with a general reverence and high esteem of holy matters

Direct. VII. Speak always before them with great honour and praise of holy ministers and people, and with dispraise and loathing of every sin, and of ungodly men. [2] For this also is a thing that children will quickly and easily receive from their parents

Direct. VIII. Let it be the principal part of your care and labour in all their education, to make holiness appear to them the most necessary, honourable, gainful, pleasant, delightful, amiable state of life; and to keep them from apprehending it either as needless, dishonourable, hurtful, or uncomfortable.

Direct. IX. Speak often to them of the brutish baseness and sinfulness of flesh-pleasing sensuality, and of the greater excellency of the pleasures of the mind, which consist in wisdom, and in doing good.

Direct. X. To this end, and also for the health of their bodies, keep a strict guard upon their appetites (which they are not able to guard themselves): keep them as exactly as you can to the rules of reason, both in the quantity and quality of their food.

Direct. XI. For sports and recreations, let them be such, and so much, as may be needful to their health and cheerfulness; but not so much as may carry away their minds from better things, and draw them from their books or other duties, nor such as may tempt them to gaming or covetousness. Children must have convenient sport for the health of the body and alacrity of the mind; such as well exerciseth their bodies is best, and not such as little stirreth them. Cards and dice, and such idle sports (TV - video games?), are every way most unfit, as tending to hurt both body and mind. Their time also must be limited them, that their play may not be their work; as soon as ever they have the use of any reason and speech, they should be taught some better things, and not left till they are five or six years of age, to do nothing, but get a custom of wasting all their time in play. Children are very early capable of learning something which may prepare them for more.

Direct. XII. Use all your wisdom and diligence to root out the sin of pride. And to that end, do not (as is usual with foolish parents, that) please them with making them fine, and then by telling them how fine they are; but use to commend humility and plainness to them, and speak disgracefully of pride and fineness, to breed an averseness to it in their minds. Cause them to learn such texts of Scripture as speak of God's abhorring and resisting the proud, and of his loving and honouring the humble: when they see other children that are finely clothed, speak of it to them as their shame, that they may not desire to be like them. Speak against boasting, and every other way of pride which they are liable to: and yet give them the praise of all that is well, for that is but their due encouragement.

Direct. XIII. Speak to them disgracefully of the gallantry, and pomp, and riches of the world, and of the sin of selfishness and covetousness, and diligently watch against it, and all that may tempt them to it. When they see great houses, and attendance, and gallantry, tell them that these are the devil's baits, to entice poor sinners to love this world, that they may lose their souls, and the world to come.

Direct. XIV. Narrowly watch their tongues, especially against lying, railing, ribald talk, and taking the name of God in vain. And pardon them many lighter faults about common matters, sooner than one such sin against God.

Direct. XV. Keep them as much as may be from ill company, especially of ungodly play-fellows. It is one of the greatest dangers for the undoing of children in the world; especially when they are sent to common schools: for there is scarce any of those schools so good, but hath many rude and ungodly ill-taught children in it; that will speak profanely, and filthily, and make their ribald and railing speeches a matter of boasting; besides fighting, and gaming and scorning, and neglecting their lessons; and they will make a scorn of him that will not do as they, if not beat and abuse him

Direct. XVI. Teach your children to know the preciousness of time, and suffer them not to mispend an hour. Be often speaking to them how precious a thing time is, and how short man's life is, and how great his work, and bow our endless life of joy or misery dependeth on this little time: speak odiously to them of the sin of those that play and idle away their time; and keep account of all their hours, and suffer them not to lose any by excess of sleep, or excess of play, or any other way; but engage them still in some employment that is worth their time.

Train up your children in a life of diligence and labour, and use them not to ease and idleness when they are young

Always show them the tenderness of your love, and how unwilling you are to correct them, if they could be reformed any easier way; and convince them that you do it for their good.

Direct. XVIII. Let your own example teach your children that holiness, and heavenliness, and blamelessness of tongue and life, which you desire them and to learn and practise. The example of parents is most powerful with children, both for good and evil.

Direct. XIX. Choose such a calling and course of life for your children, as tendeth most to the saving of their souls, kind to their public usefulness for church or state. Choose not a calling that is most liable to temptations and hinderances to their salvation, though it may make them rich; but a calling which alloweth them some leisure for the remembering the things of everlasting consequence, and fit opportunities to get good, and to do good.

By all means let children be taught to read, if you are never so poor, and whatever shift you make; or else you deprive them of a singular help to their instruction and salvation. It is a thousand pities that a Bible should signify no more than a chip to a rational creature, as to their reading it themselves: and that so many excellent books as be in the world, should be as sealed or insignificant to them.

From: Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. 1, A Christian Directory,
on Christian Economics, Chap. X., pp. 449-454

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter- A Holy and Happy Delight

On Good Friday- I played golf to the gloty of God and had a great time!
On Saturday- I planted a garden to the glory of God.
On Sunday- I will worship the living creator and my Savior on the most holy day!

Whether I play, pray, or plant - I can glorify my God.

Holiness implies being set apart for God.

I live a happy and holy life because of my Savior! It is a celebration!

The Old Testament was filled with water and unleavened bread- a great trainer to God's high standards.
Jesus turned the water into wine!
The New Testament is a celebratory feast!

Because of Jesus- we dance. Death is conquered- THERE IS NO FEAR!


Friday, April 14, 2006

Pope's Prayers Appropriate

From the Times Online, April 14

""THE Pope will deliver a blistering attack on the “satanic” mores of modern society today, warning against an “inane apologia of evil” that is in danger of destroying humanity.

In a series of Good Friday meditations that he will lead in Rome, the Pope will say that society is in the grip of a kind of “anti-Genesis” described as “a diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family”. He will pray for society to be cleansed of the “filth” that surrounds it and be restored to purity, freed from “decadent narcissism”.

Their author is Archbishop Angelo Comastri, Vicar General at Vatican City. The tone of the meditations is striking in its contrast to the contemporary fashion for feel-good religion.

While some will regard their emphasis on sin and the dark side of human nature as retrograde, others will welcome them as a sign of the strong and conservative leadership that Pope Benedict XVI was elected to provide. All Roman Catholic churches and many others, including Anglican churches in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, celebrate a liturgy around the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.

The 14 stations begin with Jesus’s condemnation to death, take Christians through meditations of the “Way of the Cross” and the Crucifixion and end with the laying of Jesus’s body in the tomb.

At the Third Station of the Cross, where Jesus falls for the first time, Archbishop Comastri has written: “Lord, we have lost our sense of sin. Today a slick campaign of propaganda is spreading an inane apologia of evil, a senseless cult of Satan, a mindless desire for transgression, a dishonest and frivolous freedom, exalting impulsiveness, immorality and selfishness as if they were new heights of sophistication.”

At the Fourth Station, where Jesus is helped by Simon the Cyrene to carry the cross, Pope Benedict and his followers will pray: “Lord Jesus, our affluence is making us less human, our entertainment has become a drug, a source of alienation, and our society’s incessant, tedious message is an invitation to die of selfishness.”

One of the strongest meditations warns against the attack on the family. “Today we seem to be witnessing a kind of anti-Genesis, a counter-plan, a diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family.”

There is a moving meditation for the Eighth Station, where Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem, describing the “River of tears shed by mothers, mothers of the crucified, mothers of murderers, mothers of drug addicts, mothers of terrorists, mothers of rapists, mothers of psychopaths, but mothers all the same”.

The Pope will also confront the question of evil in the world in a meditation that asks: “Where is Jesus in the agony of our own time, in the division of our world into belts of prosperity and belts of poverty . . . in one room they are concerned about obesity, in the other, they are begging for charity?”"

These prayers capture a lot of my thoughts on this Good Friday- Lord, forgive me- I am a sinful man in a world of sinful people.

We deserve to die, but beg of you for mercy.

I am worried about the shameless pride among our young and disconnect of the law. I am worried about our out of control lust for leisure and sex. I am worried about our apathy and cowardice.

We live in a time of weakened borders and national resolve- we have cast Christ out of our public discourse- we are lovers of self, lovers of money, disobedient to authority, whiners, and complainers, negative

And now I think of you- my Lord and Savior, hanging on that cross.

And I realize once again- that I have never met a person whose sins are worse than mine.

Come to Jesus, Come to Jesus- ..... and LIVE.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Weary and Winning

Micah 7:1 What misery is mine! I feel like the fruit picker after the harvest who can find nothing to eat. Not a cluster of grapes or a single fig can be found to satisfy my hunger. 2 The godly people have all disappeared; not one fair-minded person is left on the earth.

7 As for me, I look to the LORD for his help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD himself will be my light. 9 I will be patient as the LORD punishes me, for I have sinned against him. But after that, he will take up my case and punish my enemies for all the evil they have done to me. The LORD will bring me out of my darkness into the light, and I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemies will see that the LORD is on my side.

14 O LORD, come and rule your people; lead your flock in green pastures. Help them to live in peace and prosperity.

18 Where is another God like you, who pardons the sins of the survivors among his people? You cannot stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing mercy. 19 Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! 20 You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised with an oath to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago."

Father, I confess to you our national sins and my personal sins. We suffer because of a lack of trust in You and a disregard for Your word. Please forgive me, please forgive us. I confess to You that I am hurting. I am discouraged and overwhelmed with the sin of our culture. I am wounded by the sin in my life. Lord Jesus, please send forth Your Spirit. We need You afresh. Father, do it soon. I am weary. I hurt- but I also love and wait for You!